Vicki Cunningham, owner of Cunningham’s Fine Jewelry in Tulsa, Okla., has made a difficult decision to close her store after more than 25 years in business.
Cunningham, who started her career in the retail clothing industry, opened the jewelry store with her husband and business partner, Howard, in 1986. “The light in someone’s eyes when they purchase an engagement ring or anniversary gift is special,” Cunningham says. “It has been a joy.”
Cunningham says she will miss special moments with her customers and employees. “It’s hard to say goodbye to all of the friends we have made,” Cunningham says.
Yet, Cunningham feels it is the right decision to close her store. Howard, 71, had to cut back his hours because of health problems and the store’s lease is up. A robbery in 2012, which occurred two weeks before Valentine’s Day, added to the stress. “It was a tough decision, mixed with a lot of hugs and tears,” Cunningham says.
After the store-wide liquidation sale, which will last until January or February, Cunningham plans on spending time with her four grandchildren. “Forty years of working non-stop during the holidays is tiring,” Cunningham says.
However, just because Cunningham is closing her store, doesn’t mean she is done with the industry. She’ll begin her term on the Jewelers For Children charity board in January, as well as begin plans to open up an appraisal business. “I love the industry and I don’t plan on leaving it,” Cunningham says.